My faith has been a source of strength, transformation, life and hope for me (James). As Christians, it is difficult to imagine a life without Christ in our lives. We long to help others come to know the same grace that we have experienced. I am often asked, “how can we make our faith meaningful to regular (or younger) folks today?” Leonard Sweet’s book titled “Viral” has offered me wonderful insight.
“I want the passion of Eugene Ormandy, who dislocated his shoulder while conducting the Philadelphia orchestra. But rather than pursuing music at that level, I want this type of passion for Jesus and a Jesus passion for the world. Too many Christians haven’t had a passion great enough to dislocate their coffee lid, let alone a shoulder.” – Leonard Sweet. Viral: How Social Networking is Poised to Ignite Revival (Colorado Springs:WaterBrook Press, 2012), 35.
I understand. Too many times I have fought to stay awake through meetings in the local, district, or conference level where there was a feeling of “we’re-doing-this-because-we-must.” We seek to maintain buildings and budgets. We are doing things that we have always done because that’s what we do. We have all the proper structures in place. Everyone answers to the appropriate person. All the forms are completed with every ‘i’ dotted. When we get to the reason we do things, all too often we sound like parents with young children, “Why? Because I said so – that’s why?” The church cannot be faithful by simply going through the motions. Lukewarm lives are as offensive to God as to modern society.
“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your works. You are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I’m about to spit you out of my mouth.” — Revelation 3:14b-16 (CEB)
Perhaps the Church needs to move away from policy, procedures and polity to focus more on passion, presence and people. In my experience, it’s not a good argument that makes people believe, it’s seeing a life that is on fire for Christ in profound and powerful ways. People are drawn to Christ when they see his love manifest through our lives. The Church can only be faithful when it remembers that Christ died that the world, not the Church, might be saved.
Let us instead follow John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, who knew that passion was at the heart of drawing people to the Gospel message.
“Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” – John Wesley